The Jayhawks are set to battle the only team to beat them at home and the instigators of a 3 game losing streak for KU, Oklahoma State. Don’t also forget that Kansas is battling OSU and K-State for a 3-way tie for the Big 12 conference lead. It sets the stage for a major showdown tonight against the Cowboys, February 20, 8 P.M. on ESPN2.
If the Hawks can come back to Lawrence with a win, that places OSU in second place with KU one up on wins in the Big 12 Conference title race. Then KU must keep winning to pace Kansas State. Kansas has won two straight entering Wednesday's contest, while Oklahoma State has the Big 12's longest winning streak at seven games.
From KUAthletics.com, Oklahoma State is 19-5 on the season, 9-3 in Big 12 and began its seven-game winning streak on January 26. The Cowboys are coached by Travis Ford who is 99-60 in his fifth season at OSU and 289-206 in his 16th season overall. Oklahoma State is 13-1 at home, 3-4 in road games and 3-0 on neutral courts in 2012-13. OSU averages 73.0 points has a +11.4 scoring margin, which ranks second to Kansas' +13.4 in the Big 12. OSU has a +3.2 rebound margin, leads the Big 12 Conference in free throw percentage at 74.2 percent and is second in the league in turnover margin (+2.7). The Cowboys also force 15.0 turnovers per game.
Junior G Markel Brown leads OSU in scoring at 15.8 points per game which ranks third in the Big 12. His 17.3 average in conference games is second to KU's Ben McLemore in the league.
Kansas leads the overall series with Oklahoma State 106-54. The Jayhawks have defeated the Cowboys in four of their last five meetings and five of the last seven matchups. Kansas is 34-31 against Oklahoma State in games played in Stillwater, including a 32-31 record in Gallagher-Iba Arena. KU head coach Bill Self is 10-8 all-time against his alma mater, including 9-5 while at KU. OSU's Travis Ford is 2-5 versus Kansas.
Kansas has floored Kansas State and Texas in their last two games. In a hard 180 degree turn, Kansas snapped a 3 game losing streak in a convincing way. KU has played to 90 percent of their potential winning by out rebounding, scoring in the paint, converting fast break points and playing tough defense. These wins have come in a distinctly different manner than their 18 game win streak before the OSU loss. Kansas took the lead and punched the gas to not allow thier opponent to get back in the game. Instead of getting a large lead or working from a deficit, these Hawks are jumping out early and keeping the pressure on. Bill Self has to be pleased with this style of play and if this Kansas team continues, a win over OSU should be very realistic.
Kansas returns home to play TCU on Saturday, February 23, at 3 P.M. on the Big 12 Network.
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